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Festival in Whitchurch honours world renowned artist Randolph Caldecott

Caldecott Art Festival, Whitchurch

Festival in Whitchurch honours world renowned artist Randolph Caldecott

World-renowned artist Randolph Caldecott was honoured in his home town of Whitchurch on March 19 with an arts festival staged in his memory.

The Lord-Lieutenant, Anna Turner together with the High Sheriff, Tony Morris-Eyton were welcomed by festival organiser and social entrepreneur Doctor Norma Raynes.

Part of the inaugural Caldecott Arts Festival saw the unveiling of a 1,000 Little Artists Masterpiece (pictured above),  a creative piece produced by schoolchildren from across Shropshire. Work on the masterpiece was led by artist Sarah Evans and it was  presented to the town at the end of the festival.

There were some wonderful activities for children around the town, demonstrating an array of artistic talents. The plan is for the festival to become a biannual event to inspire the next generation of artists to fulfil their creative potential!

The star of the festival – Randolph Caldecott. 1848-1888

Randolph moved from Chester to Whitchurch aged 15. Everywhere he went he just couldn’t stop drawing. He wandered about the countryside drawing animals and everything else he could see and dreamed of becoming an artist one day. However, Randolph’s father, an accountant, wanted him to work in banking.

Randolph followed his father’s wishes and begun his banking career, whilst studying art at night. Eventually aged 26 he quit his job and went on to live his dreams as an illustrator! He wanted to make people smile with his work and he wanted to travel the world doing it.

He went from Whitchurch to Manchester and then on to London, he then travelled all over Europe and America to work. During his adult life he became a famous illustrator of children’s books and hilarious travel books, and his work has since been featured at the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Royal Academy and the V&A.

The Caldecott Medal annually recognises an illustrator for the “most distinguished American picture book for children” and is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) in the USA.

His publisher F. Warne and Co. said he, “added to technical accomplishment he had a spirit of fun and a sense of the joy of life”, which shined through all his work and made his illustrations a pleasure for all ages.

Caldecott Art Festival, Whitchurch
An example of Caldecott's work
Caldecott Art Festival, Whitchurch
Caldecott Art Festival, Whitchurch